Journal Published Online: 01 May 2000
Volume 45, Issue 3

A Cross-Cultural Review of Sudden Mass Assault by a Single Individual in the Oriental and Occidental Cultures



A nonrandom sample of North American cases of sudden mass assault by a single individual (SMASI, n = 30) is compared with a nonrandom sample of Laotian amok cases (n = 18) and other amok studies. Perpetrators in both studies show evidence of social isolation, loss, depression, anger, pathological narcissism, and paranoia, often to a psychotic degree. The term “innovative perpetrator” is reintroduced and expanded upon. Similarities among samples far outweigh differences, leading the authors to conclude that SMASI and its appearance in different cultures is not a culture-bound syndrome.

Author Information

Hempel, AG
Extended Treatment Program, North Texas State Hospital, Vernon Campus, Vernon, TX
Levine, RE
University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Reid Meloy, J
University of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Westermeyer, J
Veterans Administration Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN
Pages: 7
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Stock #: JFS14732J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS14732J